Smart Rinse

Rinse it smart - Efficient pre-rinse spray valves can save the food industry water and money.

As reported in the Sydney Water conserver magazine, Sydney Water is offering Smart Rinse valves free to eligible customers for the next three years.

Pre-rinse spray valves are simple devices used to remove food scraps and grease from dishes before they go into the dishwasher. This improves the cleanliness of dishes and reduces water and chemical consumption by enabling heated and treated water to be used for more cycles.

Traditional pre-rinse spray valves are surprisingly water intensive. A Sydney Water study indicated that more than 5.9 billion litres of water is used in pre-rinse spray valves in restaurants and takeaway food shops every year.

Flow rates in traditional pre-rinse spray valves are typically between 10 and 15 litres a minute. They are usually fitted with a shower-type spray nozzle that relies on water volume for its cleaning action. 

New 6-star rated pre-rinse spray valves use about half the water of old models and have better cleaning efficiency.

They have a single orifice nozzle that produces a powerful fan-pattern jet that uses water velocity, rather than volume, to increase cleaning efficiency.

But can a simple device really make a big difference?

Aparosa LuLu Tawake, a steward at the Citigate Central Hotel witnessed the difference in performance between the hotel kitchen’s old valve and the new low flow pre-rinse spray valve. 

“The new valve is faster to use and cleans off the food quicker,” Aparosa said.

To encourage customers to install the new low flow pre-rinse spray valves, Sydney Water will supply and install a 6 litre a minute low-flow pre-rinse spray valve free for eligible customers, to replace existing pre rinse valves. The valve is WELS 6-star rated, and can’t be locked on to automatically run at full pressure. Sydney Water will send a plumber to replace up to 3 existing pre rinse valves, repair minor leaks on the valve assembly and recycle your old one.  

Small and medium sized hospitality businesses can make significant savings by changing spray valves. Pre-rinse spray valves generally deliver water at between 40-60oC, meaning that reducing water use can also cut energy costs.

Table 1 shows how much water and money was saved by installing just one pre- rinse spray valve at four different sites.

Table 1. Water and cost savings achieved by each site using low flow pre-rinse spray valves


% daily water savings (for one pre-rinse spray valve)

Yearly water and energy cost savings
















Overall, Sydney Water’s study showed that water use in pre-rinse spray valves can be cut by an average of 42 per cent. Each low flow pre-rinse spray valve can save businesses an average of $456 in water and energy cost savings every year. The more often your business uses a pre-rinse spray valve, the greater the energy and cost savings.

To help keep water and energy costs low, maintenance is vital. All pre-rinse spray valves need to be inspected monthly, cleaned at least once a year, and replaced if the fittings are worn.

If the nozzles are worn, water pressure will fall and the spray angle will change, leading to slower cleaning times, a less efficient spray valve and higher energy and water costs.

For more information about Smart Rinse, contact the call centre on 1800622695. The program will run till 2010.

Download Smart Rinse Program Overview from Sydney Water

Hotels that signed up for the Smart Rise Program and have completed are:

  • The Mercure Hotel
  • Holiday Inn Sydney Air port
  • Rydges World Square
  • The Citigate Surrey Hills
  • The Macquarie Boutique Hotel


Every Drop Counts Program